charleston

A poem by Maggie Ward, GBM Hess Fellow

would we see it any differently if they were named

Sharonda. ——— sarah?
Clementa.——— chris?
Cynthia.——— sara?
Tywanza.——— timothy?
Myra.——— mary?
Ethel.——— elizabeth?
Daniel.——— dan?
DePayne.——— debbie?
Susie.——— samantha?

would there be uproar? would there be scandal? there should be uproar. there should be scandal. no matter what.

let’s call it what it is. racism.

i am white.
but it doesn’t limit me.
i can be anything.
so can my brown/black friends.
pigment should not define personhood or potential.

why does it matter their color if we are one under God, loved unconditionally.
you can call it heritage, not hate
but by thinking in that way, you place levels on society

they were
—–reverends
—–a librarian
—–a coach
—–a recent college grad
—–a choir member
—–staff of a holy place
—–a state senator

why do we practice hate as though it is the norm?

what will they call him?
—–a terrorist?
—–a thug?

or because he is white will he be a troubled young adult?

how is that fair? how is that real?

don’t call him by name. don’t let him have the fame.

he may not think all lives matter. but they do. black lives matter. i hope that’s not forgotten.

a church.
yes. religion is the cause of most conflict in history, but people could call sanctuary.
how can a church be a place of violence
Jesus taught to love our enemies – but what does that mean?

does loving our neighbors exclude our enemies?
does loving our enemies exclude our neighbors?

pigment should not produce pride.
or induce hate.
if we are really talking – us white folk lack pigment – we are missing something.
neither is better.
we must work together.

  • Jan

    Beautiful, In a sad sense. Very well said by someone of another color because it gives the meaning a louder voice.

    Thank you

  • Randall Konigsburg

    There is no doubt that the murders in Charleston were racially motivated, let us not presume that hate needs race to exist. Hatred always needs someone to bear the brunt of its fury. If there were no blacks, then Asians would be hated, if not Asians, then Hispanics would be the focus on their fury, if not Hispanics then Muslims, If not Muslims then Jews, if not Jews, then Gays and Lesbians, if not Gays and Lesbians, then Catholics …
    Hate is Hate. We must never think that it does not affect our community. It affects every community. We are only safe from hate when we preach and practice tolerance, pluralism, and respect for life. We have to let everyone know at every moment that Hate is not welcome here.

  • Bill

    Wonderful and thought provoking.